Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (122, 123, 124)

Pat Breen

Question:

201 Mr. P. Breen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when a work permit will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6582/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Enterprise)

A work permit application in respect of this person was received on 22 December 2003 and is being processed. More information concerning the application was requested from the employer on 4 February 2004 and is awaited.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

202 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the procedures whereby the spouses of non-EU work permit holders are now entitled to apply for employment here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6587/04]

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Denis Naughten

Question:

203 Mr. Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the criteria for spouses of persons with work permits entering the country and obtaining a work permit in their own right; the restrictions on the issuing of such permits; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6628/04]

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I propose to take Questions Nos. 202 and 203 together.

On 18 February 2004 I announced the introduction of an initiative to facilitate easier access to the Irish labour market by spouses of certain skilled non-EEA nationals working in Ireland. This change will apply to the following: spouses of persons on working visas or work authorisations, that is, health professionals; construction professionals; IT professionals; spouses of persons on intra-company transfer for longer than one year; and spouses of certain research specialists. A spouse of any of these categories of workers will still require a job offer from an employer in any sector. The employer then applies for a work permit from my Department. This process will be made as simple and as straightforward as possible. The operational details of the scheme are being finalised with relevant Departments and the Garda national immigration bureau and will be announced shortly.